Books Honored by the National Book Awards
The mission of the National Book Foundation and the National Book Awards is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America. Since 1996, independent panels of five writers have chosen the National Book Award winners in four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature.
The first African-American writer to win a National Book Award was Ralph Ellison for Invisible Man.
2 Books Honored by the National Book Awards in 2008
Winner - Nonfiction
The Hemingses Of Monticello: An American Family
by Annette Gordon-Reed
Publication Date: Sep 08, 2009
List Price: $21.95 (store prices may vary)
Page Count: x816
Imprint: W. W. Norton & Company
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Parent Company: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize: “[A] commanding and important book.”?Jill Lepore, The New Yorker This epic work?named a best book of the year by the Washington Post, Time, the Los Angeles Times, Amazon, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a notable book by the New York Times?tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. Now, historian and legal scholar Annette Gordon-Reed traces the Hemings family from its origins in Virginia in the 1700s to the family’s dispersal after Jefferson’s death in 1826. 37 illustrations
Finalist - Poetry
by Patricia Smith
Publication Date: Sep 01, 2008
List Price: $16.00 (store prices may vary)
Page Count: x90
Imprint: Coffee House Press
Publisher: Coffee House Press
Parent Company: Coffee House Press
In minute-by-minute detail, Patricia Smith tracks Hurricane Katrina as it transforms into a full-blown mistress of destruction. From August 23, 2005, the day Tropical Depression Twelve developed, through August 28 when it became a Category Five storm with its “scarlet glare fixed on the trembling crescent,” to the heartbreaking aftermath, these poems evoke the horror that unfolded in New Orleans as America watched it on television.Assuming the voices of flailing politicians, the dying, their survivors, and the voice of the hurricane itself, Smith follows the woefully inadequate relief effort and stands witness to families held captive on rooftops and in the Superdome. She gives voice to the thirty-four nursing home residents who drowned in St. Bernard Parish and recalls the day after their deaths when George W. Bush accompanied country singer Mark Willis on guitar:The cowboy grins through the terrible din,
And in the Ninth, a choking woman wails
Look like this country done left us for dead.An unforgettable reminder that poetry can still be “news that stays news,” Blood Dazzler is a necessary step toward national healing.Patricia Smith is the author of four previous collections of poetry, including Teahouse of the Almighty, winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and the Paterson Poetry Prize. A record-setting, national poetry slam champion, she was featured in the film Slamnation, on the HBO series Def Poetry Jam, and is a frequent contributor to Harriet, the Poetry Foundation’s blog. Visit her website at www.wordwoman.ws.